At the hospital, right after Vance died, there was a plethora of friends, family and coworkers. Our people had heard and they showed up big. It was unexpected. Overwhelming.
At the time I just couldn’t comprehend everything. I’m still not sure who all was there that day. Some faces stand out. Others are just blurs. So much was happening.
I spent a ton of that day watching them try to save Vance and I missed a lot of what was happening in the waiting room. Even after he was gone, I stayed with the body for a long time.
In the meantime, my kids were left with their grandparents and other family members and friends. I just could not deal with everything and everyone at that moment so they stepped up and stepped in and filled the holes. I’m so grateful.
The people that showed up said all kinds of things. Mostly good. But there was one phrase that I heard at least twice that made my skin crawl. Well meaning, good, godly men shook my oldest boy’s hand, looked into his barely 16 year old eyes and told him he was now “the man of the house.”
Um…no. This isn’t 1814. We don’t need a man to own land or pay the bills or run the farm.
Let me be clear: Eli is not “the man of the house.” Eli is now just barely a 17 year old boy and I will not let that be stolen from him.
He is not responsible for our family. I am. He will not pay the bills, parent the children, or make the hardest decisions. That is my job. I’m still the mom. I’m the head of household now.
Please don’t think that I’m angry with the people who said this to him. They meant well. I know that. I love them. But it was the wrong thing to say. Eli and I continue to have many conversations about his role in our home. As the oldest, he has a natural bent towards protecting and caring for us. He is man size. But he is not yet a man. Soon. Sooner than I might like, he will be a man in his own right. But not yet.
When he becomes man of the house, it will not be in my home. It will be in his own. When he’s ready, he’ll be an amazing leader of his family. I look forward to that day but it has not yet come.